Disneyland lines: what an app can and cannot do

Anyone who has been to a Disneyland on a somewhat busy day knows that the recurring theme of the entire visit will be standing in lines. This is such a painful topic at Disneyland that comedian Jim Gaffigan has said: “Disneyland is like standing in line at the DMV. And that’s it.” Lines at Disneyland … Continue reading Disneyland lines: what an app can and cannot do

Cooking with voice: misadventures in the kitchen with Google Home

Two weeks ago I attended an event at Yummly, a recipe app recently bought by Whirlpool that’s trying to make a smarter kitchen. There is a big push to make cooking easier while having appliances do more by tying their behaviour, whether it be finding ingredients in the fridge, identifying them on a supermarket shelf, … Continue reading Cooking with voice: misadventures in the kitchen with Google Home

Superbowl Ads 2018: social media has left the building

Every year I recruit our Super Bowl party viewers to help me tally the number of hashtags, URLs, and social media handles and pages mentioned in the ads. This year we tallied mentions from just before America the Beautiful and to right after the final Hail Mary attempt by the Patriots. All in all we … Continue reading Superbowl Ads 2018: social media has left the building

The Mostly Random What It All Boils Down To 2017 Awards

There are new apps coming out every day and though I try a few new ones each month, I keep coming back to a few, at most 20, that I use on a regular basis. While some are amazing, some seem to be coasting on their existing reputation and the knowledge that we’ve come to … Continue reading The Mostly Random What It All Boils Down To 2017 Awards

YouTube Kids and the corruption of recommendation algorithms

Recommendation engines have been around for years, at least since Amazon started correlating shared purchases and suggesting products (or was it only books back then?) with “since you bought this, you might like this.” It was a good-enough recommendation algorithm that helped shoppers sift through endless options to find what was relevant for them. The … Continue reading YouTube Kids and the corruption of recommendation algorithms

Intentional nostalgia: a guide

A few years ago, a coworker brought in a box of cookies his grandmother had sent him that were exactly like ones my grandmother used to bake. The moment I opened the bag, saw and smelled them, I was transported back into my grandmother’s kitchen, to when I was a child and she baked them … Continue reading Intentional nostalgia: a guide

Dynamic pricing and fairness – how to plan for acceptance

I read an interesting article last week in the NY Times that discussed the fairness, or lack thereof, of dynamic prices in different industries. The case studies included pricing for show tickets, electricity during periods of high-demand, toll roads and congestion fees, prices of essential goods after a natural disaster, and, yes, Uber with its … Continue reading Dynamic pricing and fairness – how to plan for acceptance

Context changes everything: maps, cupcakes and how to meet user expectations

I was offline for a few days so I didn’t hear about the Google Maps cupcake feature until yesterday, when Google pulled it. The feature essentially showed users how many calories they could burn by walking to their destination and they measured that walk by cupcakes. Users responded by saying it felt judgemental to provide calories … Continue reading Context changes everything: maps, cupcakes and how to meet user expectations

App feature I love: ‘Go Later’ in Waze

Every once in awhile I encounter a feature in an app or service that is so smart I have to, well, write a blog post about it. Today I’m loving Waze’s “Go later” button, an option at the bottom of the destination action sheet that opens a screen that I think is extremely well designed … Continue reading App feature I love: ‘Go Later’ in Waze

Google’s new photo books: bold product trade-offs with a lot of potential

I’m passionate about photos. Not just taking the perfect photo in terms of composition and lighting, but as mementos of a significant moment, as a door into our parents and grandparents lives, and as keepsakes of the special moments in my and my family’s life. I have an emotional connection to photos and seeing a … Continue reading Google’s new photo books: bold product trade-offs with a lot of potential